Sports psychologists for juniors?

Discussion in 'Junior League & Tournament Talk' started by momtogrif, Jun 7, 2010.

  1. TennisCoachFLA

    TennisCoachFLA Banned

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    Whoa, no 6 year old should get anywhere near a "sit up". They serve no function at all and are very dangerous for the young spine. Even crunches are wrong for kids. Push ups serve zero function at 6 years old. Gymnastics at age 3-5 is also of low value in regards to future development.

    Little ones that age should do simple playground play, basic running, jumping, climbing, hopping, simple games of catch. Of course they can swat a foam or low compression tennis ball around. They do not need any supplemental things like gymnastics or body weight exercises yet. Okay maybe some basic balancing walking on a curb or something....but thats more playground play than the need for true gymnastics.

    An older kid around 7-9, sure, a few basic gymnastics classes would be good for helping them work on their spatial awareness and balance.

    Please read a book such as Children and Sports Training by Jozef Drabik which outlines proper training for young children. It explains the sensitive periods where certain components of fitness should be worked on....and the stages where they are worthless.

    And no 14 year old should be doing any weight exercises that compress the body in any way....no overhead lifts with actual weight. No deadlifts. At that age they can work with resistance bands and medicine balls, always exercising while on their feet. No need for machines or free weights yet. They can emulate most exercises safely using bands and medicine balls.

    Once the boys hit about 16, the actual real weight training will be both safe and beneficial enough to be worth it. And even at that age, it must be supervised by a true expert trainer.
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2010
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  2. polski

    polski Semi-Pro

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    I guess there's a conservative way and an aggressive way. I say 3-5 to start gymnastics & you say 7-9 (I wonder if we're thinking of the same types of things - I'm not saying back handsprings). I say 14 for weight training & you say 16. I don't think either of us is wrong...it would depend on the body of the kid.

    Maybe my ages are too aggressive for some kids. However, OP's kid is 11, nearly 12. To me, that's a good age to start learning proper technique with body weight, band & ball workouts so that in a couple years he can progress to free weights.

    I'm pretty sure any football coach would disagree that 'no' 14 year old should be doing deads & presses.
     
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  3. polski

    polski Semi-Pro

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    Two very good cross training activities. Freestyle swimming is definately a great shoulder/back workout. Boxing is tremendous for volleying skills.
     
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  4. TennisCoachFLA

    TennisCoachFLA Banned

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    You are right, many in the sports industry do have kids doing things at young ages.

    The book I mentioned compiled numerous scientific studies on kids. There are certain periods where gains in speed, flexibility, strength, coordination can be made....each has a different age period where they develop the most. In those 'sensitive' periods, the proper exercises to address different attributes of fitness have great effect, outside those periods, not so much. These stages are different for boys and girls. It really is an interesting book.

    Unfortunately many football coaches are stuck in the stone age. Doing any sort of overhead presses or dead lifts at 14 is risky at best. Boys spines are still not developed at that stage.

    The sad thing is almost every former high school and college football player I know has back pain by age 40 or so. I wonder how much of that is from the game and how much is from doing the wrong exercises at an early age.
     
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  5. polski

    polski Semi-Pro

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    I'd bet that collisions & lifetime obesity are the primary cause of football players suffering so many back, hip, and knee pains in their mid-life.
     
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  6. TennisCoachFLA

    TennisCoachFLA Banned

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    Hey momtogrif, it occurred to me tonight that I may have the opposite situation from you with my daughter. We had mostly worked on having fun and learning the fundamentals from age 3 to 5 and a half. Nothing competitive, just keeping it all fun.

    A few months ago she began playing rallies with low compression balls. Until 2 weeks ago, just back and forth, trying to keep the ball in play and fairly close to the other player. 2 weeks ago she began to actually play rallies with the goal to win a point. My goodness, she has become crazed with the need to win every point, chasing down every ball and hitting with every bit of strength. Tonight she literally ran full speed into the side fence chasing a ball.

    So it to just be in some kids to be calm and not sweat every point like your boy or be driven to act like every point is life or death. No one has ever made a big deal out of winning or losing points with my girl, in fact we downplay the outcome, so it must come from the inside.

    So perhaps we just have to work with the personalities our kids have and develop their games to work with those traits. Successful tennis players have been of both personality types, calm and nice like your boy and maniacs like mine!!
     
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  7. Bash and Crash

    Bash and Crash Semi-Pro

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  8. mike53

    mike53 Professional

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    Spot on again my friend. There is a huge amount of research available here that is only beginning to make it's way into the public psyche. Especially here in the US and especially in the sport of tennis, both of which are well behind the curve. Certain skills are best acquired at certain ages and others produce no measurable result (at too early an age). And girls acquire at ages one to two years earlier than boys.

    I did considerable homework in this area and I thought I knew what I was doing, but I have to admit that I was so totally surprised by some of the things I dug up that I completely re focused my 8yo son's track and field program in the middle of the season. I completely changed his training and re prioritized and modified the events he enters.
     
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  9. mike53

    mike53 Professional

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    Probably none. The losses caused by non-age-appropriate training are more in the vein of a lot of effort that results in either no or diminished results and the lack of mastery of basic skills that could be better learned during the period of inappropriate training.
     
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  10. TennisCoachFLA

    TennisCoachFLA Banned

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    Good stuff Mike. That book by Drabik is amazing.
     
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  11. mike53

    mike53 Professional

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    Drabik's book looks promising, but I can't see any of the pages before buying it. Also, I think it may be overly conservative (for me).

    Last night my 5yo daughter was doing several sit ups with her tumbling coach and her coach was trying to teach her to do push ups. This is after the warm down at the end of an hour session. So I'm probably not going to run out on the floor and complain especially since the coach is young, accomplished and very knowledgeable. They have a huge book from USAG detailing what movements are allowed at what ages and basic sit ups and push ups are OK with them at age 5. This is just learning basic skills, not performing repetitive sets.

    I can't find anything for tennis, but here is a detailed description of sensitive periods and appropriate activities in the long term athlete development doc:

    https://www.swimming.ca/ltad

    This is the kind of stuff that convinces middle class parents that these people know what they are doing.
     
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  12. TennisCoachFLA

    TennisCoachFLA Banned

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    I guess we will have to disagree on this one Mr. Mike. In my experience, the US gymnastics system is the worse possible system in US sports from a standpoint of injuries and short term thinking.

    Part of it is the reality that girls have a very limited window for being elite. Gymnastics has always been the earliest starting sport and the kids are pushed from the beginning.

    Sports doctors I have dealt with call gymnastics a horror show of injuries to amazingly young girls with back and spinal problems leading the pack.

    Gymnastics is also a closed fraternity, chances are the young coach went through the club system with the same old thinking that he learned from a coach who learned from Grandpa.

    I can think of no long term reason or benefit to having a 5 year old doing sit ups and push ups. There is none. You don't learn basic skills without constant repetition anyway...so unless the kids will be doing these sit ups and push ups all the time, that point does not make sense. But this coach is under a ton of pressure. The girls have to be amazing by 7-8 years old, they have to ignore injuries and pain. They have to be more mature than they have any business being, that is the reality of elite gymnastics.

    Honestly, besides basic spatial awareness and balancing that can be gained from some introductory gymnastics classes, my 5 year old will never be within 100 miles of the gymnastics establishment. It is a hard task but the USGA makes the USTA look like forward thinking brainiacs and gymnastics parents make tennis parents look sane!
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2010
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  13. mike53

    mike53 Professional

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    Yeah, what you're saying makes sense and you may be talking me out of it. I'm certainly not above changing my mind. The kid is so good and she loves it so much that I may be overlooking common sense and only seeing what I want to see.

    So if this is her current skill set and she has the the exact size-strength ratio for gym, what would be a good activity to transition to? Unfortunately, if you are on target to be 5'4" at adulthood, your opportunity to excel at sport is limited. You don' see a lot of short girls on the lacrosse team.
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2010
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  14. himynameisNIKE

    himynameisNIKE Professional

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    Well, if your kid at 11 years old cant apply some highlighted words in a book, do you really think he would listen to a sports psychologist?
     
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  15. polski

    polski Semi-Pro

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    Soccer, tennis, golf, & equestrian (down the road) come to mind. I'm just picturing flexibility, balance, and eye-hand coordination.

    Depending on her quickness in a few years... think about a basketball point guard or volleyball back row player.
     
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  16. mike53

    mike53 Professional

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    Thanks coach. Golf is a big winner. Plenty of golf programs around here and the wife of one of the local pros is my new best friend since I help her daughter at swim team.
     
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  17. mike53

    mike53 Professional

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    Plenty of room for disagreement on this one. Even though I'm not completely sold, the beauty of the internet is that you can find references to support almost any point of view.

    http://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q...VNL6KO&sig=AHIEtbSr4Vkk1ue2n5_2GZPAPYNu2U9BQQ

    Page 5 - ACSM author says "there is no reason why younger children
    could not participate in strength-related activities, such as push-ups and sit-ups, if they can safely perform the exercises and follow instructions."

    https://www.akronchildrens.org/cms/tips/046716257edd6015/nf825_strength_training.pdf

    Akron Children's Hospital says "By age 6, kids can usually do push-ups and sit-ups. These exercises can help build a sense of balance, control and body awareness."

    I was never one to complain about tennis parents since I always thought they were OK.

    TCF, I always love corresponding with you because you think outside the box.
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2010
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  18. polski

    polski Semi-Pro

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    The Akron Children's Hospital literature states basically verbatim what I have been telling all my kids. Thanks for posting it, I'm going to bookmark that.
     
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  19. polski

    polski Semi-Pro

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    Reminds me of an Agassi interview he did after his book release. He said that he asked his dad recently if he would have done the same things all over again knowing how everything ended up with Andre. Dad said, "No, I would have chosen golf or baseball. There's more money and you can play longer."
     
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  20. TennisCoachFLA

    TennisCoachFLA Banned

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    Akron City Hospital or the USGA or many coaches....we have no clue the backgrounds of who is writing the article. Did the Akron City Hospital do a 30 year study on thousands of children like Dr. Drabik did? Or did they regurgitate information that has been around forever?

    I owned a large fitness club for years. I dealt with hundreds of trainers over this time. Many from respected institutions. Most still had little clue and just spit back out what they heard.

    There is zero, zip, nil need for a 6 year old to do push ups and sit ups. That is not a sensitive age period for any possible benefit of those exercises. Those exercises are very limited in their target areas. They serve no purpose at that age.

    At age 6 the kids will benefit form overall activities, running, hopping, balancing, throwing, catching. Those activities are 1000000 times more interesting and beneficial at age 6 than push ups or sit ups.

    At the worst push ups and sit ups may cause harm at that age, sit ups put tremendous pressure on the spine,...at best you are simply wasting their time on boring exercises that have no benefit for them.

    Lets use common sense...IF there was any benefit from push ups and sit ups for 6 year olds they would have to perform them all the time and lots of them. That is the recipe to bore them out of their minds. As far as learning basic exercise techniques,...no offense, but a 12 year old can learn how to do a push up properly in about 30 seconds. Its not like if they don't learn how to do a push up at age 6 they will never catch up to the early push up kids for goodness sakes!!
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2010
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  21. polski

    polski Semi-Pro

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    From my past 3 weeks experience with my summer kids (age 14-17) I can say with complete confidence that this is wrong. I have one kid that has been doing regular push up / sit up activities since he was 8. I have 8 others who haven't ever done this type of excercise.

    Result: In 3 weeks of practicing 4 days per week doing proper technique for push ups, I still only have one kid that can properly do a push up.

    Also not surprising, I have only 1 kid that can serve with power. Guess which one?
     
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  22. polski

    polski Semi-Pro

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    Anyone else think we should start a new thread? This is clearly far off topic from sports psych at this point.
     
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  23. TennisCoachFLA

    TennisCoachFLA Banned

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    Oh for goodness sakes, you are just trying to defend your point. Totally ridiculous.

    You are taking extremes, 14-17 years old who have NEVER done push ups. If that is true, they probably have never done any basic work.

    And if they can not do a proper pushup after 3 weeks and 4 days a week training...you sir have found the most uncoordinated and improperly trained kids ever placed on planet Earth. Hmmm....this extreme just happens to 'prove' your point.

    Look, push ups for 6 year olds are worthless, totally worthless. No matter how many ways you frame it, they are worthless.

    I said before, kids start out young with all around exercise. Then they move onto resistance bands and medicine balls. Then they do body weight exercises. By 14-17 they have done lots of various exercises, including push ups.

    If you found 8 out of 9 14-17 year olds who can not do push ups properly than you have a group of kids who were not trained properly at all for years. Had they been trained properly, going through the steps of fitness, they would outperform Mr. Push Ups since age 8.

    It has zero to do whether those kids did push ups or not at age 6. The fitness ball was dropped with them totally for their entire lives up until now.
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2010
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  24. mike53

    mike53 Professional

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    I was thinking the same myself. This thread has taken on a life quite apart from the original poster's question.

    Here is one of the best organized documents I have seen:

    http://www.admkids.com/8stages.php

    Download the Stage 2, Fundamental Stage document and look at Page 2, Physical Development, Focus: where it says "Include strength training using the child’s own body weight as well as medicine ball and Swiss ball exercises"

    This guide is for ages 6-8 for females and 6-9 for males. I take it to include push ups and sit ups as body weight exercises.
     
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2010
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  25. polski

    polski Semi-Pro

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    You are basically correct on all three of these points. I don't know about the uncoordinated part, but definately not properly trained. Welcome to HS tennis in a blue collar town. It's not the same as sunny Florida.

    Updated: 2 more proved they can do a correct push up today.

    Note: We're not sitting there doing 3 hours of push ups. They do as many as they can in 30 seconds at the end of workouts.
     
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  26. TennisCoachFLA

    TennisCoachFLA Banned

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    Good job coach, I commend you for your hard work with the kids. I am not trying to bust your stones. We just disagree on what age kids should do certain things.

    In the end keeping kids active is all good.
     
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  27. notennis

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    I'm back. TCF I don't agree with you that push ups at age 6 will do the child no good. Thats way off base. Push ups develop strength in the arms and shoulders even at tyhe young age of 6, nuff said. I do agree with you on the sit ups though and the potential it has for spine issues. There are more fun exersizes for the core for 6 year olds than sit ups. Believe it or not, medicine balls can be fun for kids if you stand there and facilitate drills particularily for muscle movement and strength.......
     
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  28. TennisCoachFLA

    TennisCoachFLA Banned

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    Its not agreeing with me or not. And it is not a question whether push ups improve strength at later ages. Scientific evidence shows that kids do not benefit at age 6 from strength training yet. That is not a sensitive period for gains in strength. The benefits are so tiny they do not warrant the stress to the body or boredom of push ups.

    All of this can be found, scientifically documented, in Dr. Josef Drabik's book as mentioned earlier.

    And if you read this thread you will see I outlined the use of medicine balls. But no need for those at age 6 either. The correct order is all over playground type exercises at 3-8, medicine balls 9-14, body weight exercises at 14-16, weight training starting at 16-17 under strict supervision.

    Boys and girls have different sensitive periods for strength training....but neither of them benefit enough for it to matter at age 6.
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2010
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  29. tenniscrazed

    tenniscrazed Guest

    I think the Spaniards, and Serbs are in favor dead lifts, squat thrusts, and weekly (under strict supervision) powerlifting sessions certainly by the age of 8. Especially the Germans. Oh and the French Federation I hear are in favor of bench presses, squats and shoulder presses no later than 9.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 24, 2010
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  30. notennis

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    Scientific evidence thats pretty amusing. TCF I'm afraid you read to much and thats your biggest problem. It has been demonstrated that little children in very poor countrys are already working at the age of 5. Moving boulders, working on a farm trying to survive,etc. Those kids I have to say have muscle, I have seen it, strange but true. Medicine balls that weigh 2 lbs can be used for muscle memory for throwing motions and core. Why do you always have to try and be a know it all? You think you have experience because you are a coach and really have not demonstrated anything other than having young children who play Tennis. Oh, thats right. I forgot you owned several fitness centers over your lifetime,etc.....Botton line, you and all the other parents on here do it the easy american way, by the book. Europeans train at a very early age (medicine balls and push ups) thats why they dominate. Don't be a dummie and argue this fact anymore because it ruins your credibility whatever that is. Your still the king of thread though, but definately off base with this subject..............
     
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  31. TennisCoachFLA

    TennisCoachFLA Banned

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    Your post is beyond silly. Yeah, kids move boulders at age 5 and grow huge muscles.....despite the fact that that is impossible. Besides the rare, rare exception, 5 year olds do not have the hormones needed to increase muscle size due to weight training. Strength gains at that age come from neurological "learning". And even if they did, they would be crippled with arthritis by age 40. Oh yeah...and their spines would be deformed because a 5 year olds spine is as flexible as a piece of grass and would be hopelessly bent if they had large muscles in their upper bodies.

    Now if you wanted to make a valid point that kids in other countries are tougher, that they work on the family farm at a young age....fine. That would have made sense.

    Europeans? Buy American? Oops...Dr. Drabik is part of the Polish, Eastern Bloc, former Soviet Union establishment. His research and results are after studying for decades UNDER THE VERY SYSTEM YOU ARE TOUTING!!

    He learned what works and what does not work from that system.

    http://www.stadion.com/children_sports_training.html

    Rick Macci and Nick Saviano's kids do not work hard? Kids at our club don't work hard? Why, because they don't "lift boulders at age 5"? Because they actually take kids through the progression of training the right way?

    How about Emilio Sanchez-Casal? He and the Spanish system have also produced tons of great players? Go see how he trains kids.....slow progression through the training cycle with no weights until the mid teens.

    Hmmm...how come all these coaches have so much success doing it the right way?

    Funny how this lazy system has produced Madison Keyes, Williams sisters, Sekou Bangoura, Roddick, Mary Pierce, Capriati, Sonya Kenin, about 90 D-1 players, boatloads of successful Spanish players, and on and on.

    By the way...for the 3rd time....we all advocate MEDICINE BALLS at a young age. That is 100% different than advocating push ups and sit ups at a young age.
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2010
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  32. notennis

    notennis Rookie

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    Why do you think all the people you named never did sit ups or push ups at an early age? You don't know that and I rest assure most that you named off did some of that stuff.....Again, you may have book facts but your guessing on the others which is why I say don't blow your credibility on here because once again you are exagerating and making false assumptions unless of course youy know these people personally which you don't.......Dummy!
     
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  33. chalkflewup

    chalkflewup Hall of Fame

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    Name calling is such a lame defense. TCF has plenty of credibility here and when you resort to calling him a "know-it-all" or a "dummy" it backfires. Give it a rest.
     
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  34. notennis

    notennis Rookie

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    OK Chalkflewpoopoo..........
     
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  35. momtogrif

    momtogrif Rookie

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    Wow, I see my thread has totally gone off track so I wanted to throw this information out there for some of you who are arguing about exercises for young children. I used to help coach our homeschool group's PE classes and we participated in the President's Challenge for the Presidential Physical Fitness Awards. We would instruct the kids on the moves they would be tested on for about 2 months prior and then test them in the spring.
    Here is a link where you can view the standards: children, starting at the age of 6, are tested on sit ups or half sit ups(AKA curl ups), push ups, shuttle run, v-sit or sit and reach, and a distance run. Personally, I see nothing wrong with instructing children on weight bearing exercises using their own bodies as resistance. Of course, as usual there are varied opinions on this board, LOL.
    http://www.presidentschallenge.org/...s/physical_fitness/qualifying_standards.aspx#
     
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  36. ClarkC

    ClarkC Hall of Fame

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    Finding a reference to support a point of view is not worthwhile.

    I am moved to comment on this old thread because I have been thinking about an educational issue recently, and this thread is a classic example. The issue is teaching our students how to think, how to get to the bottom of an issue that is not cut and dried for them. For example, if one writer says that our schools are declining in quality and the decline in SAT scores over the decades proves it, and another writer says that the decline in SAT scores is entirely due to a larger pool of students taking the test, our students would have no idea how to proceed. We are training them to read textbooks, which means we are ultimately training them in how to take someone else's word on the matter.

    When investigating a matter of disagreement, they need to be taught to find out what one side says about the other side's argument, then find out what the second side says in rebuttal to that, then go back to the first side to find a counter-argument, etc. At some point, you find that no one has anything new to say, and you can make up your mind who was more persuasive.

    You can find a source that says 10 year old boys should do heavy weight lifting if you look long enough on the internet. But if that source is completely unaware of contrary sources, and thus does not answer them, it is not that useful. Jozef Drabik presented research that growing spines do not need to be compressed by dead lifts, overhead lifts, etc. If the pro-weightlifting sources do not scientifically rebut this claim, they are worthless to the discussion.

    The approach to argumentation here, as in most internet discussions, seems to go like this:

    One person finds a source that claims A.
    Another person finds a source that claims NOT A.
    First person finds another source that claims A.
    Second person finds another source that claims NOT A.

    repeat until exhaustion sets in

    If a source, like the Akron Children's Hospital source, shows no awareness of specific rational claims to the contrary by Drabik, then it is not really a rebuttal to the Drabik source.

    Yes, you can find any opinion on the internet. So what?
     
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